On the second floor of Brakke 1 in Nybyen, lights are in two windows. Freia Hutzschenreuter moved into this apartment 30 years ago. Now is she sitting among slides, figurines, plastic containers and cardboard cartons after receiving a notice of cancellation for her rent contract with Spitsbergen Travel.
Will stay in Nybyen
The cancelation arrived as registered mail.
"I nearly had a nervous breakdown," Freia says. "I could not think clearly and I could not do anything. It was like a lightning bolt."
The first thing she did was to show the letter to those at the post office counter.
"I had to show it to someone," she says. "It was going a little around for me."
According to the termination notice, she must move out by December, but the deadline may be extended until May 31.
"That is better," Freia says. "If not, I had only one month to move out since I'm going to Germany in November."
Now she has regained her ability to act and is starting to work on finding a new place to stay in Nybyen. She is on the waiting list of single rooms offered by Ole Reistad and has been renting a storage room with him.
"I need a place to keep all my things," Freia says.
Packages for the return
The apartment is filled from floor to ceiling. Freia has emptied the three storage areas she has in the attic and moved all of the stuff into her apartment to get an overview.
"I'm do not intend to have this as a mausoleum," Freia says.
She adds that she does not want people to think she collects cardboard boxes for no reason. Therefore, she wants to be photographed by some boxes of slides she's trying to pack in the lid of a large cardboard box for returning to the mainland.
"Gradually I can add to and pack a cardboard container compactly," she says. "When I am going to move down it will go more quickly filling the container. That explains why I collect cardboard boxes."
Twelve red roses
In 1984/85 Freia moved into the apartment.
"I moved in in connection with Brakke 101, which now is Brakke 5, being emptied and we had to move out," she says. "It was either a hotel or student housing, I cannot remember.
I was the barracks supervisor and the last one to move out."
For a short time, Freia stayed at Buret before moving into the apartment where she now lives. She has since continued to rent the apartment even though the barracks has changed owners several times.
Freia cannot remember when she got her first rental contract with Spitsbergen Travel, but she remembers it was for 12 months.
"It was very easy," she says. "I asked to be allowed to continue to stay here and they said yes. Then I went out and bought a bouquet of flowers for them. Twelve red roses, one for each month."
After that she regularly received rent contracts with a three-month notice period, which were adjusted several times with new rent rates.
"After I received the termination notice I offered to pay 2,000 kroner extra in rent because I enjoy it so much and because they should not incur any expenses because of me," she says. "I was told that it had nothing to do with money, but that they needed the apartment itself. I do not have to ask why and just have to accept it."
Freia is departing for Germany on Nov. 3 to spend the Advent and Christmas seasons there, as she usually does. She plans to return in mid-January in time to participate in the Svalbard Seminars. She is hoping by May that Reistad will have an available single room and, if not,he will let her stay at Guesthouse 102.
"I am happy in Nybyen," she says. "It's the environment I'm used to. The center of Longyearbyen could be anywhere in the world. It's not the same atmosphere there, and it probably would be a little too close for me. I enjoy myself with the views and enjoy simplicity."
As for moving back to Germany for good, she is not ready yet. A few years back it was revealed that she is registered as being homeless for three-and-a-half months during the autumn of 1975. Freia has tried to get this changed for many years. "I will not go into the German archives as 'a homeless person from Longyearbyen,'" she said when Svalbardposten spoke with her in 2006.
Freia is also afraid she cannot get her Norwegian pension transferred to Germany.
"The incorrect registration is not in order yet and I dare not travel until everything is in order," she says. "Once that is in order I'll move down, but I must them have a plan for how to do it."
She therefore acquired the large cardboard boxes she can pack, plus a lid in the living room she can test the packages with.
"I have been in Svalbard for 46 years and in this apartment for 30 years," she says.
"Since then so much has been accumulated."
Campaign on Facebook
When Sølvi Jakobsen discovered Freia was being evicted from her room, she started a campaign on Facebook. "Could not she have been allowed to live there until she moves down for good?" she asked, among other things. The post received 67 comments as Svalbardposten went to press Wednesday.
"I was very surprised by the response on Facebook," Freia says. "Anne Lise (Klungseth Sandvik) told me about it. I was very happy. It was totally unexpected and it was really such that I was speechless."
Although the majority endorses Freia and thinks she should remain, there are also some who are missing Spitsbergen Travel's input.
For example, Arnt Vegar Jensen wrote: "Maybe it's just me, but seems (Spitsbergen Travel) is being hung out here and chatted down too much without them being able to defend themselves. A little unworthy for an important contributor in Svalbard."
Spitsbergen Travel declined to comment to Svalbardposten about the reason for the termination of Freia's contract.
"If she have any questions, we will sort them out with her," said Administrative Director Knut Harald Holst-Hansen. "It is not a matter that should be left to the newspaper."
A little hope
After the Facebook campaign, Freia still has a little hope she will be able to continue staying in the old Formannsmessa.
Sandvik has become involved, arranging a meeting between Holst-Hansen, Freia and herself. The date is not yet determined, but it must be before Freia goes south Nov. 3.
"It may be that I can stay nevertheless," the protagonist says.
It is what she wants most of all, to remain in the apartment until she is once again ready to pack the cardboard containers and send them back to her childhood home of Berchtesgaden in Germany.